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The Role of Technology in Architecture


Technology has become of the fundamental vital aspects in the modern world since it has affected many social, economic and political undertakings. In this regard, it has become a pertinent component of the architectural profession. In the past, architecture was limited to physical conceptualization and actualization of ideas to construct buildings (Emmitt 26). With the introduction of technology in both techniques and tools used, architecture is not the modern architecture has attained a different status. In this digital age, architects are capable of developing, representing, and constructing buildings through digital platforms. This has transformed the profession so that architects can visualize the structures in multidimensional perspectives and construct them within a very short time.

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In essence, the application of technology in architecture can be discussed from the perspective of the tools used during work, the techniques envisaged by the professionals, and the transformation of technology over the years. Accordingly, this paper will focus on how technology impacts architecture in line with the existent methodologies, the instrument that they use to accomplish their work, and how the entire profession has been transformed in its technological arena. This will be discussed based on the premise that all these factors must be considered and used together in order to achieve a successful architectural career.

Technological Impact on Architectural Techniques

Data Management

In architecture, the management of data is one of the most fundamentally vital aspects when it comes to architecture. Before the introduction of technology, data was stored in form of documents that were protected in a physical location to ensure availability of reference. However, the storage was vulnerable to destruction and loss of useful information that led to a negative effect on the success of the architectural proceedings. The introduction of technology changed the entire information system so that the data is stored in modern devices such as computers. In essence, the information system plays various roles when it comes to managing data that is useful in architecture. The management of the data included several distinct undertakings, including storage, transferring, filtering, processing, and protecting. These aspects are the most pertinent when it comes to the entire organization of information to ensure successful architecture.

Particularly, storage of data using the system is done by saving the various aspects such as measurements and other requirements that are specific to certain architectural structures. The essential impact of technology on storage is based on the fact that architects are capable of keeping very bulky amounts of data for use in the process of designing. In comparison, the manual storage could hardly hold sizeable data since they were recorded manually by the architects. Furthermore, it has improved the way data is transferred and shared with other entities. In essence, the traditional transferring system was accomplished by duplicating the files manually by recording. However, the technological transferring process has improved the process because the devices allow fast and instant sharing of information to distribute it to the pertinent parties. In this case of transferring, it is essential to understand that sharing data is essentially crucial since the architectural process involves more than one person or entity. As a result, the transfer of information becomes critical and the speed at which it is transferred determines the success of the entire process.

The other undertaking that is impacted by technology regarding architectural data management is processing. Before the introduction of technological data-management systems, the stored data was processed by referring to files manually and calculating the figures in order to come up with reliable information for designing. The processing required many people to handle the large volumes of data and come up with usable information. The use of data information systems brought a new dawn for this profession. When data is fed in the information systems, there are functions that allow the instant organization and grouping of information. Recall that raw data is stored in an unorganized way so that there is little information that can be extracted from them. In technological information systems, the processing takes place quickly to organize data into forms that are helpful to the designing as well as construction. Importantly, filtering is a critical part of processing information. This undertaking involves the removal of data that is not pertinent to a certain project. For example, if an architect wanted to focus on data regarding the roofing, it becomes easy to use the data-management systems to filter the one that is not applicable to the roof constructions.

Another essential aspect of data management that has been impacted by the introduction of technology positively is protection. In essence, loss of stored data is probably the most tragic eventuality that can impede the process of construction. Whereas data was protected by securing files in well-locked locations such as rooms and shelves, the technological techniques are more reliable. In essence, technology allows architects to take a backup of their information using disks and websites. As a result, the professionals can retrieve that data when they require it for designing structures. Essentially, the information systems protect the data in a manner that makes it easy to access and utilize information maximally.

Technology and Sustainable Architecture

Technology has been the major factor that promotes techniques of sustainable architecture. In essence, sustainable architecture is concerned with designing buildings and structures that do not pose dangers to future generations and reduce their opportunities (Drake 213). For example, it has enabled architects to come up with cost-effective and proficient ventilation systems for air conditioning. In this regard, it is essential to recall that indoor pollution has been a major source of illnesses and deaths. However, the use of technology enables the architects to design buildings in a manner that heat is flushed out of the structures and directed to the water or waste system. In turn, modern technology enables them to recycle that energy from the water or waste material and transfer it to the fresh air in the building. In addition, the improvement of technology has made it possible to design sustainable electrical systems that use little energy in households (Turrent 378). In this regard, it has developed motors that power the HVAC systems to increase their efficiency and develop the sustainability of the electricity.

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The passive design captures the solar energy efficiently such that the systems can work without a large amount of solar from the sun. In essence, the design is enabled by the use of technology to incorporate construction materials that have high thermal mass. These materials are capable of extracting maximum energy from the sun to use in the structures. Further, the introduction of technology, especially the use of digital designing tools, is one of the developments that enable the construction of low-energy buildings. In this regard, technological devices have been used to design buildings with an extremely low surface area to volume ratio.

Technology as the Enabler of Artificial Architecture

Artificial architecture is the most modern technology that has been invented in regard to designing structures. It can be described as a bold and thoughtful step that has given the architectural profession a new look and insight. It has made use of algorithmic methodologies to create naturalistic forms of designs. The technique has provided a way of using algorithms to solve critical architectural problems that have been experienced over the years. Importantly, this is a technique that has used the computer as a collaborative party rather than a mere tool of work. It has merged various disciplines, including architecture, artificial intelligence, and computer science to come up with a methodology that can provide meaningful solutions to problems (Dunn 345). These disciplines intersect to create a popular and modern method known as algorithmic design. In the traditional techniques of architecture, technology was used to develop morphologies using complicated algorithms. It makes use of CAD programs to conceptualize the designs envisaged by the architect in various perspectives and dimensions. In essence, this software enables the automatic generation of repetitive tasks that are commonly done manually. The repetitive tasks make the work tedious since the architects have to duplicate the work when performing subsequent tasks. It does complicated calculations to alter and process the actual designs that exist in the mind of the architect.

On the other hand, artificial architecture is set up in a manner that enables the computer to produce completely different designs from the ones that are in the mind of the architect. This process involves the simulation of complex and naturalistic designs or applying generative methods to create completely different conceptions. Whereas the technique uses CAD, technology has allowed the incorporation of scripting languages in this software so as to allow the system to perform improved tasks. Expectedly, most of these complex, but helpful models could not be used when the architects were operating manually. However, with the use of computers, it has become easy to compute these models and create helpful designs for structures. Essentially, the critical application of technology in this technique arises where the architects and computer specialists have been able to incorporate direct programming to code designs and allow the software to create the integrated structure.

In fact, it has been quite fortunate that the technology has developed algorithms that can be printed out in 3D and enable the interpreters to view all the aspects and intents of the designer. This implies that the computer performs a better task than the traditional one by acting like a designer rather than the extension of the designer. This has been the main reason why modern architecture has successfully created exemplary designs that do not only rely on the creativity of the architect but the features of computational morphologies. For the sake of exemplification, a computer that uses this technological technique is capable of making a predefined design of a hotel, auditorium and a library among others. In this case, a library can take a fractal design while the auditorium may assume a parasitic setup drawn from the Boolean computations. In overview, the introduction of this modern technological technique has made it easy for architects to design easily and efficiently. Essentially, this method can be referred to as a multidisciplinary concept that draws from diverse knowledge such as computer engineering, mathematical concepts, and architecture. Therefore, it is a completely revolutionary and transformational step that has seen the profession making critical advancements. Although there are various techniques that have been conceived and improved through technology, these are the most pertinent methods of designing that have been occasioned by this advancement.

Technology Architecture Focusing on Tools

Besides focusing on the improvement of techniques, technology architecture also deals with the improvement of tools used in designing and constructing buildings. In this regard, the technologists have been working tirelessly to develop tools that are easy to use, efficient, and more accurate than the preceding ones. Before the digital age of technology, architects were using traditional tools, such as pencils and paper, for designing. During this period, all the architectural design was done manually using these tools. In essence, the dividers, compasses, and slide rulers were crucial to the process of designing structures. The lead and markers were also used profoundly when creating the designs. These tools depended on the manual proficiency of the architects and their capability to avoid mistakes was the main determinant of successful design.

With the technology architecture, these tools have been phased out partially. In most cases, the professionals used them for making the preliminary designs and then continue with the digital operations. It, therefore, implies that the use of these tools has not been eliminated in architecture. With the efforts of technology architecture, professionals are capable of accessing and using computer programs to perform the same tasks in a better way. One of these programs is the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) that replaced the drafting board which was used as a drawing platform (Silver, William and Dason 129). This software has an added advantage since it can help to analyze the tolerance and durability of the structure using prototypes that break down complicated architectural details. However, the technology architecture discovered that CAD was a simplistic program used in designing structures because it was concerned with drafting the structure only. By the application of technology architecture, modeling was discovered to replace the CAD program. This went beyond the mere designing so as to include simulations that allowed thorough modeling and included the mechanical organization of the structure.

For example, it allows the architects to use several items, such as digital wood-crafting provisions, that assemble and integrate the designed models. In addition to the designing tools, technology has improved the architectural office tools such as information systems. Unlike the traditional methods whereby information was stored entirely on documents, the modern information system stores the data digitally. The systems store, process, and protect the information in a more efficient manner than the traditional one. As a result, it is evident that technology architecture focuses on the technological aspects of the applied techniques as well as the tools.

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Architecture Focuses on the Designs

Whereas architectural technology focuses on the aspects of techniques and tools, architecture is concerned with the designs used by the concerned professionals. In this regard, architecture is concerned with developing new approaches when designing buildings. It accomplishes this undertaking by considering various experiences and past knowledge that has been gathered in order to come up with new designs. It leads the personnel on how to identify the pros and cons of a certain design in order to make it better with respect to time and purpose. It helps to determine what the architect should retain or discard to achieve a design that serves the desired purpose. This is also conjoined to the minimization of afflictions that can be occasioned by a design in relation to its location and purpose. In addition, architecture focuses on how designing problems are solved by correcting previous mistakes. In essence, the problems are not evoked by the tools used during the designing process, but they are caused by the inappropriateness of the design used. As a result, architecture focuses on the design alone while it leaves the issues of tool usage to technology architecture. Evidently, the techniques that are developed by the technology architecture are used to satisfy the design, but they do not affect the design. In addition, they affect the efficiency and speed at which designing is done rather than affecting the specific design.

Impact on the Wider Society

The use of architectural technology has led to a profound impact on the welfare of society. In the first part, it was evident that technology enables the construction of sustainable buildings that reduce waste and maximize the use of available energy. For example, the passive design creates structures and buildings that absorb energy without the use of expensive photovoltaic cells. This implies that the residents maximize the energy that is available. In addition, indoor pollution has been reduced drastically due to the purification of air and the reduction of heat in households. This heat is directed to the waste and water systems where it is tapped to warm the air available in the houses. Furthermore, the use of advanced technology has helped to ease the workload incurred by the architecture. The reduced workload has enabled the designing process to become quick and hence the construction of building in society becomes easy.

Comparison of Gothic and Romanesque with 21st Century Architecture

The comparison between these two periods can be drawn from the use of technology and the designs. In this regard, Romanesque and Gothic architecture did not apply any technological devices since the world had not developed gadgets that could help in the process of designing. This is understandable because of the two periods of architecture between the 6th to the 16the century. Particularly, the Romanesque period ranged from the 6th to the 12th century and then evolved to the Gothic styles. At this time the level of technology was very low such that the architects had to design everything manually.

In regard to the designs, the Romanesque period was characterized by buildings that had semicircular curves (Prina 127). This design had conquered and dominated different areas across the continent during the time of existence. When Romanesque architecture developed, it evolved into the Gothic styles that were characterized by sharp-pointed tops and buttress looks. It was mostly used by the churches, palaces, and halls among many other public institutions. In contrast, the 21st century has taken a different direction when it comes to designs. In this regard, the designs are drawn from naturalistic phenomena such as eggs, butterflies, and other aspects existing in different setups. Further, the 21st century has been characterized by the incorporation of green and sustainable architecture. These designs aim at saving the amount of energy used in construction and reducing waste (Schrenk 239). This implies that the buildings are not only built with the intention to become appealing, but also to satisfy human needs and welfare. In essence, this architecture has developed profoundly when compared with traditional architecture.


It is evident that the architectural profession has undergone various transformations in regard to the tools and techniques used in the process of designing. In essence, there has been the discovery of proficient techniques including artificial architecture and the development of sustainable designs. Further, it has been established that the tools used during designing have also undergone profound transformation and improvement. In this case, the traditional architects were using manual tools, such as pencils and rulers that depended on the architect’s proficiency, accuracy, and creativity. However, the technology architecture has developed new tools such as CAD and BIM software. On the other hand, it has been shown that architecture focuses on developing the designs, but not the tools or techniques used to make the designs. Additionally, Romanesque and Gothic architecture did not use the high-level technology used by modern professionals for designing structures. Lastly, 21st-century architecture focuses on sustainability while the two traditional arts were constructed without considering the green ideology. Consequently, it cannot be disputed that 21st-century architecture is better than the latter.

Works Cited

Drake, Scott. The third skin: architecture, technology & environment. Sydney, NSW: UNSW Press, 2007. Print.

Dunn, Nick. Digital fabrication in architecture. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2012. Print.

Emmitt, Stephen. Architectural technology. 2nd ed. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Print.

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Prina, Francesca. The story of Romanesque architecture. Florence: Electa, 2011. Print.

Schrenk, Lisa Diane. Building a century of progress: the architecture of Chicago’s 1933-34 World’s Fair. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. Print.

Silver, Pete, William McLean, and Dason Whitsett. Introduction to architectural technology. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2008. Print.

Turrent, D. Sustainable Architecture. London: RIBA Publishing, 2007. Print.

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